The original meaning of the word "Doctor" was teacher. As a psychiatrist, I have learned to first listen to my patients and then teach them how to find the solutions to their problems. I bring this art of listening and teaching to my non-clinical work.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Northeastern State University - Bachelors, Chemistry - Computer Science - Pre-Med
Graduate Degree: Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences - PHD, Osteopathic Medicine
MCAT Physical Sciences: 11
MCAT Verbal Reasoning: 13
Historical movies, piano playing, skiing
Anatomy & Physiology
Ancient and Medieval Heritage
AP US Government
AP US History
College World History
GRE Subject Test in Psychology
GRE Subject Tests
High School English
High School World History
Study Skills and Organization
Technology and Computer Science
US Constitutional History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
In order to learn a subject, the student must find something interesting or relevant in it. He does not need to like the subject or enjoy it. He only needs to understand to have the subject related to something in his own life. We learn by making connections. Boring and unconnected facts are hard to learn and impossible to remember.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would like to find out what the student enjoys and what parts of learning he finds intolerable. It is my job to find some way around, or through, the block by helping the student find a new perspective.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By showing him how enjoyable different areas of knowledge are. I once spent an entire evening listening to an Alaskan gold miner describe his life. I will never mine gold in Alaska, but it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have ever spent.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Continuing motivation is the struggle we all face. A habit, or study, like the habit exercise, must be carefully nurtured. The student, after being shown pleasant ways to learn, will have to be encouraged to continue the practice until it becomes a habit.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are many different ways to learn. If it is dry facts that we are memorizing (sometimes this is a necessary evil), then we can use mnemonic phrases, a song, a picture, or a muscle-memory drawing to help us through the block. If it is a conceptual difficulty, then we need to simply find new metaphors to help the concept to become clear.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comes with practice. The answer is not to force the student to read the New York Times or The Atlantic Monthly, but rather to find something he is interested in or passionate about for him to read.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I would find different ways to teach that particular skill or concept. There is more than one way to get a student to learn or comprehend a skill or concept.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I hated Anatomy in medical school. I still dislike it. The subject felt infinite. Once I was able to reduce the subject to the facts that I needed to know and make a list of them, I found that the subject was more tolerable for me. Sometimes we just have to slog through something we don't like. However, that slog should have a definite end-point that the student can see and look forward to.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
There are several ways that a student can have her understanding confirmed to her. She can draw a diagram of the knowledge. She can teach the subject to me. She can use flashcards with spaced repetition to confirm and reinforce the material. These are some of the ways that we can start. No student should be forced to use a certain technique because the teacher favors it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The student needs to see proof that her knowledge is increasing and her performance is improving. Whichever kind of measurement the student finds comfortable and enjoyable should be used. But this measurable improvement must be made. The "Before and After" pictures used by people who help people diet are a good example of this sort of measurement.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The student will tell the tutor if he will take time to listen. Most of us are so ready to jump in and be a savior that we forget that the student is the center of the learning environment. Not us. As a psychiatrist, I have learned the value of careful attention and listening.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Adapting to a particular student's needs is an art, and not a science. People are not computers that we decide to use a certain programming language on. When an approach isn't working, I don't keep beating my head against a brick wall. It's time to find an alternate route. This is the art of trial and error.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use flash cards for my personal learning. Mnemonics are some people's favorite. Washable crayon-drawing on the shower wall can be used. We can sing knowledge and we can draw knowledge.